Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Advent Reflection: Lord, This Is The People Who Long To See Your Face! The Face Of Christ by Joe Castillo, SandStory Artist

With the death of King David, whom many Israelites presumed to be the promised Messiah, God's People, Israel, waited 1,037 years for the advent, the coming of the Christ. 
    During all that time, a small remnant of God's holy and devout People continued praying, fasting, doing penance, and expecting God's promised Messiah to come during their lifetime.  The Psalms express their yearning and prayers for a Savior: 
"Who shall ascend the mountain of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob." (Psalm 24:3-6)
Psalm 105:4-6 also captures this yearning as it advises God's people to seek Him:
"Seek out the LORD and his might; constantly seek His Face. Recall the wondrous deeds he has done, his wonders and words of judgment, You descendants of Abraham his servant, offspring of Jacob the chosen one!"
Here's the story of a man who longs to help others to seek and recognize the Face of God, in Jesus Christ.  The man's name is Joe Castillo.
    Joe Castillo grew up in Mexico.  His love for art and storytelling was strongly influenced by his mother, who taught painting, and his father, who owned a graphic design company.   By age five he was enrolled in his mom’s art class for the neighborhood children. By eight his father was teaching him to hand letter brush script. 
    Then, at fourteen, he attended an artist’s chalk talk at a Christian youth camp in Mexico. He was so moved by the drawing and the powerful message that he accepted Christ that night. For the next forty years his love of art and his passion for God would inspire and guide his life. 
  After his father’s death in 1963, the Castillo Family moved back to the US. 
Joe finished high school, studied at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota and enrolled at Florida Bible College, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible. 
  Joe developed a love for writing, teaching and using his artwork for telling stories.  He became a regular speaker at youth camps and churches. 
  Joe created his own advertising firm, and worked in that field for twenty years.  But, during the entire time, Joe entertained and captivated thousands of audiences -- in both English and Spanish -- by telling and drawing stories that inspire, motivate and touch the heart. 
  After eighteen years in advertising and the loss of his wife of twenty-six years to breast cancer, he sold his ad agency, went back to school and graduated from Asbury Seminary. 
  His profound love of teaching the scriptures inspired him to illustrate what he was learning in a new way. These illustrations attempted to present the Bible in an intricate story-form that grew out of the Biblical passages.  

    His latest adventure in storytelling is something Joe calls SandStory®.  
    Drawing in sand on a light table, he is able to create powerful, fluid illustrations for large audiences with an overhead video camera projected on a large screen. 
    His presentations have been seen by thousands of people leaving them with a sense of awe. 
    He has created performances for CBS, NBC, BBC, TED, over thirty Fortune Five hundred companies, Kings, presidents and dignitaries in more than 18 countries around the globe. 

   Joe Castillo without question is the top SandStory artist in the world today! 
Here is an excerpt from a blog for and about illustrators, called Mark Armstrong, Illustration.   In this excerpt, entitled, Joe Castillo’s Face Of Christ, Mark Armstrong tells us:
A friend of mine sent me a copy of  The Face of Christ by Joe Castillo. I was enormously impressed. As you can see, the artist has incorporated major events from Christ’s life and ministry into the drawing, mostly in the beard and hair.
The rolled away stone of the empty tomb corresponds nicely to where the ear would be, and the stars in the eyes provide a sense of scale for the Star of Bethlehem, which is tucked into the shadow of the nose. I think my favorite touch is using the Sea of Galilee and its mountain backdrop for the right eyebrow.   
    Here is Joe’s portrait of Our Lord, called, The Face Of Christ.  Look closely.  
    There are several smaller drawings which comprise the portrait of the Lord’s Face. 
    These smaller drawings tell the whole story of Our Lord Jesus’ life.
    In case you have trouble recognizing them, here’s the portrait done up with the references to the events of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection (taken from Mark Armstrong, Illustration, who based it on the references given at this tribute site: http://jerryjeffries.net/FaceOfChrist.html):

Here's an easy and profitable Advent spiritual exercise, using Joe's The Face Of Christ:  
    Print out the Face above.  Sit and look into this Face for a little while.  It can help you focus on "The Reason" for the Christmas Season. And it can help you to make the connections between all of the major events in Our Lord Jesus Christ's thirty-three years on earth with us.  

    In The Book Of Exodus (33:18-33), God reveals to us through Moses, that no mere mortal may see God's Face directly. We would not be able to survive the experience of seeing absolute goodness, absolute truth, and absolute holiness.  Not understanding this yet, Moses presses God for a glimpse of Him:
Then Moses said, “Please let me see your glory!”  The LORD answered: I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim my name, “LORD,” before you; I who show favor to whom I will, I who grant mercy to whom I will.  But you cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live."  "Here," continued the LORD, "is a place near me where you shall station yourself on the rock.  When my glory passes I will set you in the cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face may not be seen."
    With the coming of God's Son, God-in-Human-Flesh, Jesus, mortal men have finally seen the Face of God!  And lived!  And even more than simply surviving it, we see Christ's Face and He leads us into eternal life with Him!
    As you study Joe Castillo's  The Face Of Christ above, remember:
Every event depicted in this Face was accomplished for you personally -- and for all of us!  
    Try reading the Scripture Passages indicated for each event. And allow yourself to pray to Our Lord, and ask Him to return, to come again, and to eternally establish His Heavenly Kingdom here on earth.

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